Lately we’ve been adding these ancient, traditional superfoods to our meals at GoodnessMe Box HQ. Apart from tasting awesome, here’s why they’re worth trying. By Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor Melissa Fine.
Why we love it:
It can boost your mood: Serotonin, the ‘feel-good’ chemical, is naturally inherent to cacao, as are serotonin-precursors such as tryptophan.
It has shown to reduce high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease: According to a gold standard research review*, involving 20 studies with a total of 856 mostly healthy individuals; This revealed that ‘flavonols’ - plant compounds inherent to cocoa - have some blood pressure lowering potential; Long-term studies however are still needed.
It’s loaded with antioxidants: To help fight free radicals, highly reactive environmental toxins (such as pollution and cigarette smoke) which may cause cell and tissue damage. But skip the commercial, confectionary-style chocolate and stick to the raw stuff; Cacao tends to have a significantly higher ‘Oxygen Radical Absorbence Capacity’ (ORAC score) than heat-treated cocoa-based products.
How we’re having it:
In a super-thick smoothie with a heaped tsp each of cacao and chia seeds, a frozen banana, a dessertspoon of almond butter and ½ Cup almond or coconut milk. Top with cacao nibs for some crunch…Yum!
We’re also munching on At One Food’s Cacao Incaberry Raw Superbar for a mid-morning or arvo snack; Although bittersweet raw cacao doesn’t taste like refined-sugar laden milk chocolate, the addition of dates, hazelnuts and ground vanilla bean in this bar gives the perfect balance of sweetness, satisfying your chocolate craving the healthy way.
Why we love it:
It tastes like caramel! But is way healthier – traditionally used in South America for its distinctive rich, slightly sweet and nutty flavour and as a high protein flour.
It’s low GI: Something that makes my meals taste like dessert that can also help balance blood sugar and keep me fuller for longer? Yes please!
It’s high in fibre: When the ground powder is derived from the whole seed, just 2 tsp of mesquite gives you about 3.5 g of filling, good-for-your-gut fibre.
How we’re having it:
Stirred through banana porridge, or in unsweetened Greek yoghurt to cut the yoghurt’s sourness. It gives whatever you add it to a nice golden-caramel hue too.
Why we love them:
They’re not your average dried fruit: Not sickly sweet, golden incaberries are sweet and sour all at once, helping balance out the sweetness of desserts.
They’re fibre packed: Thanks to their little seeds, incaberries boast more fibre than any other dried fruit, with just ¼ Cup giving you almost 9 g of fibre.
They’re versatile: Because of their tartness, incaberries work well in sweet or savoury dishes, adding a depth of flavour, extra texture and a pop of colour to whatever you’re eating.
How we’re having them:
As a substitute for figs on a cheese plate, or instead of raisins in homemade, wholemeal muffins or muesli. I also love incaberries stirred through a quinoa and roast veg salad, topped with a little unsweetened Greek yoghurt. Yum!
Cacao Incaberry Raw Superbar The wonderful, slightly bitter cacao flavour gives way to a sweetly refreshing zing of the Incaberry. Food of the Gods indeed! 100% natural. Vegan. No added refined sugar. Paleo-friendly. Gluten free.
*Source: Ried K, Sullivan TR, Fakler P, Frank OR, Stocks NP. Effect of cocoa on blood pressure. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD008893. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008893.pub2.